Rocester 3-1 Hinckley AFC

Two stoppage time goals condemned Hinckley AFC to a second straight league defeat as Rocester came from behind to win 3-1 at Hillsfield.

In what was a stop-start game throughout, Hinckley led at the break through Ky Green’s fourth of the season.

But the home side, in their first game under a new manager, hit back after the break and levelled through Jordan Dodd, before Dodd and Sam Garbett won it in time added on.

Courtney Belford made four changes to his Hinckley side that beat Ellesmere Rangers last week. Ryan Ball and Luke Delaney dropped to the bench, with George Brindley and Ashley Gray unavailable.

It meant returning duo Isaac Cooper and Liam Cross came straight into the starting line up.

And Hinckley started brightly, forcing home keeper Charlie Wood into a save just four minutes in. Curtis Townley’s long throw caused problems, and Jake Brown ran onto the ball at the far post but was denied by a point blank save.

From a similar situation, the hosts’ Carl Allen flicked one into the side netting but Hinckley had the better of the play and chances early on. Lewis Commins headed wide from Brown’s clever cross, before the stretching Brown could only divert Luke Richards’ flick on straight at Wood.

But the physios were among the most involved people of the half – Rocester’s Rhys Brade had three visits from his side’s trainer before he was substituted from the effects of a 50-50 challenge, before Townley also had to go off with a nasty-looking ankle problem when he landed awkwardly from challenging a header.

With the Romans still a threat, Dodd turned Jack Jeffrey’s corner wide when he should have tested Ty Belford.

But Hinckley resumed their ascendancy when Ball, on as a substitute for Townley, found Commins with a fine through ball, only for his cross to be turned behind. But from the resulting corner, Green rose highest to power home Bekir Halil’s delivery and give his side the lead for the fourth time this season.

That sparked a frantic spell of play – Commins steering Dimitri Dunkley’s cross wide before Rocester’s best chance when Jordan Godfrey lashed one off the angle of post and bar and Dodd’s rebound was deflected wide.

As Hinckley sought a second, Commins’ drilled ball across the face goal was inches away from being converted the onrushing Brown, before Cooper was sent in behind but a heavy touch forced him wide and a pull back into a dangerous area was hacked clear.

But the home side finished the half strongly, and Dain Sismey volleyed wide at the far post as the end-to-end spell continued.

Belford then denied Dodd, before the same player set up Godfrey who saw one deflected inches wide and the sides went in level at the break.

After the break, Rocester carried their strong end from the first half into the restart, but even though Hinckley weren’t fluent, they still had chances. Richards had a snapshot saved before Ball bent over just over as Hinckley looked to double their lead.

But instead, they were punished for their lacklustre start just before the hour. A long ball to Dodd was their out ball, and Hinckley didn’t deal with it. From it, Dodd got in behind but Belford stood firm, only for the ball to rebound to the edge of the box where Dodd fired one goalbound which took a wicked bounce over Belford’s dive and hauled the home side level.

Hinckley almost hit back when Halil’s free kick was tipped wide at full stretch, but they were mostly limited to efforts from set pieces as Rocester defended resolutely and Hinckley struggled to retain possession for any sustained spell.

When they did break through, Wood was in fine form again to deny Brown’s one-on-one, and Carl Allen headed the same player’s rebound off the line.

Then, Richards was denied by another fine save as Wood kept his side on level pegging.

And those saves proved crucial as the game entered the final ten minutes, as the Romans sensed their chance. Hinckley were down to ten men for a time with Mark Williams sin binned, but his ten-minute spell on the sidelines was over by the time Garrett cut inside and dragged one into the side netting in stoppage time.

That looked like being the final chance, but instead Rocester fashioned another as Hinckley were out-battled in midfield, and Dodd was found with a through ball from which he made no mistake and slotted into the corner.

And with Hinckley desperately searching for an equaliser in the final minute, Garbett got in through almost identical circumstances and slotted home after rounding Belford to seal the win and round off Hinckley’s second straight league defeat.

Rocester: Charlie Wood, Max Kiddle, Matt Nutt, Joe Brockley (Lewis Dawson 50), Josh Sedgley, Carl Allen, Jordan Godfrey, Lewis Rand, Jordan Dodd, Rhys Brade (Dain Sismey 8), Jack Jeffrey (Sam Garbett 68). Subs not used: Matt King, Kallum Whale

Goals: Jordan Dodd (58, 92), Sam Garbett (95)

Hinckley: Ty Belford, Curtis Townley (Ryan Ball 15), Isaac Cooper, Bekir Halil, Ky Green, Liam Cross, Dimitri Dunkley (Michael Wright 73), Mark Williams, Luke Richards, Jake Brown, Lewis Commins (Jake Healy 64). Subs not used: Luke Delaney, Alex Lock

Goal: Ky Green (27)

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